Safe Blogging for PWDJs

People with day jobs have been fired for what they’ve put into their blogs. Today I want to focus on how to avoid such an abrupt cash-flow interruption, and finish off a series of posts that began with a look at a proposed national shield law to “protect” journalist (so far it excludes bloggers), and continued with an entry on anonymous blogging tools.

Getting fired for blogging is Heather B. Armstrong’s claim to fame. She writes a blog called Dooce that won a Bloggie award (which I believe comes with a coveted one cent purse) for her humorous writing. (I peeked today and she seems to be doing pillow talk these days.) Anyway, when I blogged about her contest win I included this excerpt from Heather B. Armstrong herself:

“I started this website in February 2001,” Heather writes. “A year later I was fired from my job for this website because I had written stories that included people in my workplace. My advice to you is BE YE NOT SO STUPID.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a guide to blogging that includes a lot of useful tips about your rights and responsibilities as a blogger. Read it at your leisure. Ignore it at your peril.

In brief what I would suggest with regard to workplace commentary is that while you have a First Amendment right in the United States to say what you wish — so long as it is not a libel — you have no right to be employed by anyone who you might disparage. And if you get fired, even unfairly, you’ll find it costly to bring a legal action against your employer.

So listen to Heather B. Armstrong, if not to me, and if the spirit moves you to blog about work:” BE YE NOT SO STUPID.”

Tom Abate
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media